Activists: Explosion rocks Damascus army airport

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says car exploded near compound that serves as Assad family's private airport.

June 17, 2013 00:21
Blast hits central Damascus near offices of ruling Baath Party, February 21, 2013.

Blast in central Damascus 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Sana)

AMMAN - A huge explosion shook the Mezze military airport on the western edge of Damascus on Sunday, and ambulances were seen heading to the compound, a major base for President Bashar Assad's elite forces, activists said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain with a network of observers in Syria, said a booby-trapped car had exploded at a road block near the airport.

Video footage taken by activists showed flames rising from the area.

State controlled al-Ikhbariya Television said the explosion "resulted from an attempt to target the Mezze military airport". Activists said Assad's forces cut off roads leading to the airport following the blast.

The compound, which is manned by Republican Guards, Special Forces and Airforce Intelligence, serves as a private airport for the Assad family.

Since the uprising, it has been used as an artillery and rocket base to target rebellious Sunni Muslim neighborhoods on the edge of the capital.

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